The best electric toothbrushes for kids can help improve their dental health and encourage them to actually enjoy cleaning their teeth.
Brushing is more fun with interactive games, rewards and child-friendly designs. While the best electric toothbrushes might be too big for little ones, the great thing about electric toothbrushes for kids is that they now come with lots of motivating tools and features to teach children how to look after their teeth independently.
"Patients that have tartar buildup may not have the best brushing techniques with a manual brush, so an electric brush can be a useful tool to keep teeth clean." - Dr. Alina Lane, DDS, founder of All Smiles NYC.
At Live Science, our tester tried a range of the bestselling brands for kids so you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying one. We looked at price, design, durability and battery life so whether your child is obsessed with Minions or Frozen, or simply likes the idea of competing with other family members when it comes to teeth cleaning competitions, we’ve got you covered. Many of the best electric toothbrushes for kids now come with accompanying apps, so parents can monitor their teeth cleaning habits remotely.
A 2021 study in the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry found a powered brush is much more effective at removing plaque from teeth than a traditional toothbrush. Read on to find out which electric toothbrushes for kids ranked highly in our rigorous testing.
Best Electric Toothbrushes For Kids
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Oral-B Kids electric toothbrush uses oscillating-rotating movement to clean your kid’s teeth, and it’s suitable for children as young as three years old. Our buying guide plumped for the Frozen II themed toothbrush, but other themes are available including Star Wars, Disney Princesses and Pixar Kids. Prices may vary.
The first thing we noticed with the Oral-B Kids electric toothbrush is that it comes with four toothbrush heads, giving you up to a year of use without having to purchase refills.
This rechargeable electric toothbrush lasts for up to five days between charges too, so you can take it away on short breaks or sleepovers without having to remember to pack the charger.
A free Disney Magic Timer app is also available with selected toothbrushes, including the Frozen II model. Simply download the app, scan the toothbrush and your child is all set to brush along with their favorite Disney and Pixar characters. They can unlock and collect stickers for good brushing technique too.
A 30-second reminder prompts little ones to switch brushing position, and a 2-minute timer tells them when it’s time to stop brushing. Younger children may prefer to choose the Sensitive mode, while the Daily Clean mode may suit older children better.
The Oral-B Kids electric toothbrush gets great reviews from parents on Amazon, with over 80% of happy customers giving it 5 stars. They say their children enjoy brushing their teeth with this electric toothbrush, even if they don’t use the free app. They also report that their kids’ teeth look much cleaner after use.
However, negative reviews mention problems scanning the toothbrush to match favorite characters in the app, and some parents report a build-up of mold and dirt on the toothbrush where the head connects with the handle. It’s worth pointing out that these negative reviews are few and far between.
- Read our full Oral-B Kids Electric Toothbrush review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Suitable for kids aged three and older, the Philips Sonicare for Kids features an interactive app to help make brushing sessions more fun. Simply download the app to a phone or tablet and connect the Bluetooth-enabled handset for personalized brushing tips, coaching and animated rewards that encourage your child to brush hard-to-reach spots.
The app also features data on your child’s brushing history, so you can double-check they’re staying on track. The brush itself records up to 20 sessions without requiring a sync to the app, so if you haven’t got your phone or tablet to hand, you won’t miss out on a session’s data.
A handy two minute timer encourages your little one to brush for the recommended time. A bonus quad pacing feature prompts them to move the brush around the four quadrants of the mouth, resulting in a thorough clean.
The colorful design of the Philips Sonicare for Kids is also customizable, with 10 stickers provided that wrap around the handset, instantly updating your child’s toothbrush to the design of their choice.
This electric toothbrush comes with 2 power modes - a low mode for younger children and a more powerful mode for older kids. You can also buy smaller toothbrush heads for younger children if the toothbrush head provided is too big for your child.
The Philips Sonicare for Kids scores an impressive five stars on Amazon, with most parents saying it has improved their child’s brushing technique. However, some buyers complain that the colorful stickers tend to peel off over time, the toothbrush head provided is too big for little mouths, and the lack of a pressure sensor means kids could be inadvertently brushing too hard.
- Read our full Philips Sonicare For Kids review
3. Colgate Hum Kids
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Suitable for children aged five and older, the Colgate Hum Kids brings augmented reality (AR) into your bathroom. Using a distinctive and colorful base that features AR dots, this toothbrush will track your child’s brushing technique via a connected app. It connects your little one to a live game on the app, encouraging them to tackle hard-to-reach spots in a fun and interactive way.
The Hum is carefully designed with kids in mind, featuring a slim, ergonomic handle and a small brush head with extra-soft bristles. Parents with more than one child can purchase extra brush heads to swap in.
If you’re worried about your phone slipping off the side of the basin, the Colgate Hum Kids also comes with a handy phone stand, so your child can see the game they’re playing while they’re brushing.
This toothbrush is shipped in sturdy recyclable cardboard packaging, so there’s no plastic waste, and it comes with two batteries provided so you can get started straight away. It’s also available as a manual toothbrush, with the same AR technology.
Overall, the Colgate Hum Kids scores an impressive 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon. Parents praise the toothbrush for transforming tooth brushing, with expert prompts on everything from switching positions to rinsing off the brush after use. However, many parents report struggling with the AR technology that connects to the app, which can sometimes result in inconsolable younger children who want to play the games.
- We're still in the process of testing the Colgate Hum Kids.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Foreo is known for its beautifully designed sonic toothbrushes, and the Foreo Issa Kids electric toothbrush is no exception. Available in four bright colors, its distinctive design adds cheer to any bathroom shelf.
Foreo toothbrushes and toothbrush heads are made with silicone, making them easy to keep clean and hygienic. Plus, the shallow silicone bristles make these toothbrushes kind to little gums, giving a gentler clean. Foreo claims their toothbrushes remove 30% more plaque to give your child’s oral hygiene a 140% boost.
Children will enjoy the soft and silky feel of the ergonomically designed handset, while each color choice comes with its own animal character. Choose from rose nose hippo, true blue pony, merry berry shark, or mellow yellow gator.
The handset also features a light-up smiling ‘Glee’ or sad ‘Glum’ face, depending on your child’s brushing habits. For example, Glee appears at the end of the recommended two minute brushing time, while Glum appears if they switch off the toothbrush before two minutes, and when the toothbrush hasn’t been in use for 12 hours.
A 30-second quadrant pacer prompts your child to switch position, while a one-hour charge gives up to 265 brushing sessions. A USB cable is also provided, offering ease and flexibility when charging, especially while travelling.
While many parents praise the Foreo Issa Kids for its smart design, not all are sure it cleans their kids’ teeth very well. Some worry the sonic cleaning is underserved by the silicone brush head, while others are concerned that it doesn’t do as good a job as rotating-oscillating brushes, such as the Oral B kids electric toothbrush.
There’s no doubt you get what you pay for with the Foreo Issa Kids, but it is still one of the most expensive kids’ toothbrushes on the market. Replacement toothbrush heads are almost impossible to track down in grocery stores or pharmacies, so you’ll probably need to find and buy them online.
- Read our full Foreo ISSA Kids review
5. Brusheez Kids
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
There’s no doubt that Brusheez toothbrush sets are among the most adorable brushes available on the market. They make an ideal gift to encourage your child to learn good brushing habits. Each set comes with a toothbrush and toothbrush head cover, an hourglass-style timer and a small rinse cup, all neatly stowed on a matching stand. Choose from nine different colorful animal characters, including Pepper the Dino, Prancy the Pony or Sparkle the Unicorn.
Brusheez says its battery-powered toothbrushes remove twice as much plaque as a manual toothbrush, while the fun sand timer offers a great visual cue to your child for how long to brush.
The stand that comes with the toothbrush set can sit on a shelf, by the basin or be mounted on a wall. The set also features a cute brushing chart for your child to fill in morning and evening, and parents can download and print further brushing charts from the Brusheez website. Brush heads are easy to find and fairly inexpensive to replace, and the generous five year warranty gives extra peace of mind.
Parents love the Brusheez sets on Amazon, with thousands of satisfied customers giving it the full five stars. They praise how much fun Brusheez packs into each character set, and how much enjoyment their kid gets from brushing their teeth. On the flip side, however, some parents say the brushes can be noisy, and Brusheez customer services can be slow to respond if there are any problems.
- We're still in the process of testing the Brusheez Kids.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Suitable for children as young as three, the BriteBrush comes in a choice of three distinctive designs: Baby Shark, Sesame Elmo and Game Brush. Each design comes loaded with fun, interactive games and music, to encourage your child to brush more effectively.
The brush does a good job of encouraging your little one to brush up and down. However, we did find that the smart sensors sometimes didn’t recognize that we were brushing up and down already. So the constant reminders, and the fact that the game stopped to remind us, was often a source of frustration.
The ‘side recognition technology’ didn’t appear to work at all. The games continued on, regardless of whether we changed sides or not, so parents may wish to continue supervising their little ones to ensure they’re covering the whole mouth.
However, parents seem to really rate the BriteBrush, with many giving it five stars in Amazon user reviews. They say it has transformed their child’s brushing technique and made oral hygiene fun. However, some parents complain that the soft bristle brushes fray too quickly and need to be replaced more often than other toothbrushes.
Our verdict? Affordably priced, and with lots of features, there’s no doubt that most kids will find the BriteBrush fun to use at first. But it can be a frustrating experience for kids and parents alike.
- Read our full BriteBrush Games Brush review
How we test
How do we test the best electric toothbrushes for kids at Live Science?
We actually test our electric toothbrushes for kids on the people they're designed for. Supervised by a parent or guardian, our child testers will run the toothbrush on its various settings and measure how loud it is with a decibel counter app. We then compare these results to other appliances and noise levels. We run and use the toothbrush on its different settings and modes, noting any differences in intensity and durations between settings. We also test the charging process, including how long it takes to reach a full charge, and for the battery to deplete.
Frequently asked questions
When can kids start using an electric toothbrush?
The majority of electric toothbrushes can be used by children aged three or above, so this is a great time to introduce them. You’ll still need to supervise your child and offer support and help with brushing until they’re around six or seven, depending on how independent they are.
While research into electric toothbrushes for kids is limited, there is some evidence to show it’s better for dental health than a traditional toothbrush. A 2021 study into the use of electric toothbrushes compared with manual ones revealed that they removed over 30% more plaque in children aged 3-6 years, and over 50% more plaque in children aged between 7 and 9. So they’re a quick and effective way to take care of your children’s teeth, and starting them young can develop healthy habits into adulthood.
What is the best electric toothbrush for kids?
If you’re shopping around for an electric toothbrush for your child, look for models that are age appropriate. There's a lot of choice around these days, with some toothbrushes designed for older children only.
Consider how you want the brush to be powered. Battery-powered brushes tend to be cheaper, but the cost of replacement batteries can add up. Your child’s toothbrush runs the risk of slowing down as batteries run out, making brushing less efficient. Electric rechargeable models may end up being a cheaper investment in the long run.
If you’re not sure, you can always start with a cheaper battery-operated model and see how your child gets on with it, before investing in a more expensive rechargeable device.
Examine the size of the brush head and make sure it’s small enough to be used comfortably by your child. Large, deep brush heads may make cleaning tight spots between the molars and cheeks almost impossible for younger children. The width and shape of the handset is also important - a good ergonomic design will make the toothbrush more comfortable to hold for two minutes in tiny hands.
Two minute timers and bonus features that encourage your child to move the brush around their mouth, such as quadrant pacing, help to set good brushing habits early on.
Colorful designs can help to make brushing more fun, but it may mean your child outgrows their favorite TV character before they outgrow their brush, and you may find yourself splashing out on a new toothbrush sooner than you’d like.
Above all else, don’t forget adult supervision. Watching your child brush their teeth and helping them out when they need it makes the biggest difference to your child’s oral hygiene. A little praise and encouragement goes a long way too.
Dr. Lane went to Cornell University and majored in Chemistry with a concentration in Biology. She then attended the University of Maryland - Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, a top 3 ranked dental school at the time. She was accepted into and completed the competitive Implant Clerkship, served as the President of the Psi Omega Dental Fraternity, and was initiated into Gamma Pi Delta, a Prosthodontic Honors Fraternity. She was awarded the Dean's Award for her volunteering work and helped teach Baltimore Youth during her time at UMD.
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Joanne Lewsley is a UK-based freelance writer and editor, covering health and lifestyle news and features. She mainly creates evidence-based health and parenting content and has worked with a number of global sites, including BabyCentre UK, Medical News Today, Fit & Well, Top Ten Reviews, and Yahoo!